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Thursday, 28 January 2021 17:47

Kent Test and Headteacher Assessment for Entry in September 2021: Further Analysis


Head Teacher Assessments (HTA)
You will find full details of the process hereThe HTA takes into account headteacher's recommendation, child's performance in class and in standardised tests, together with any special circumstances, success depending on satisfying a Panel of Headteachers that the child is of grammar school ability. Primary schools choose how many and which children to put forward for the HTA in a process which is supposed to remain confidential (and is broadly in state schools, parental pressure in local private schools sometimes overruling this principle) with a variety of different approaches to identifying who should be put forward. Some schools, including some Catholic schools, choose not to take part in the process.  
Most automatic passes follow socio-economic patterns across the county, but the influence of HTAs is quite different, perhaps reflecting local pressures. The table below shows outcomes of the four Headteacher Assessment Panels, that operate geographically across the county. Note: HTAs for out of county pupils will be considered by the most appropriate Panel, usually West or North West   
Head Teacher Assessments 2020
District Boys Girls Total Boys % Girls % Total 
HTAs Considered
East  Kent  403 535 938 43% 57%  
Mid Kent 288 364 652 44% 56%
NW Kent  198 231 429 46% 54%
West Kent  142 151 293 48% 52%
Total 1031 1281 2312 44% 56%
 HTAs Upheld
East  Kent  219 280 499 54% 52%  53%
Mid Kent 145 196 341 50% 54%  52%
NW Kent  95 141 236 48% 61%  55%
West Kent 61 68 129 43%  45%  44%
Compare with the 2019 data, one can see that the numbers of candidates being put forward by primary headteachers are well down, partly because the numbers taking the test are also down, but also I believe because of lack of academic evidence to support individual cases where children have missed schooling over the relevant period.  In particular, the number of boys put forward for assessment has fallen, across the county, the gender gap being magnified in NW Kent by a low success rate for boys. West Kent always has lower numbers than the rest of the county, possibly because primary schools are aware of the pressure on grammar school places.  
Grammar School Appeals 2020.
In any normal year, this would not merit a section on its own, but 2020 has been very different as explained in my Appeals survey. However, the challenges facing both appellants and appeal panels for this summer's hearings will be considerably greater. The rules say that for a grammar school appeal to be successful the appellant must produce evidence to show the child is of grammar school ability, and in past years this will have included reports from the school with evidence of performance through test results, annual school reports, etc. Many children have had limited schooling over the past twelve months, and remote learning may not be conducive to such evidence being attainable. Given all this the academic evidence, such as it is, from a supportive headteacher becomes even more important. Evidence from private sources such as tutors is much less helpful, for there is no assurance that this will be objective with parents having paid for it.  The normal rules for the conduct of appeals have been disapplied again, the changes being as for 2020 appeals, as follows:
Summary of changes in Regulations for School Admission Appeals in 2021
The new regulations:
  • disapply the requirement that appeals panels must be held in person and instead give flexibility for panel hearings to take place either in person, by telephone, video conference or through a paper-based appeal where all parties can make representations in writing
  • relax the rules with regard to what happens if one of the 3 panel members withdraws (temporarily or permanently) to make it permissible for the panel to continue with and conclude the appeal as a panel of 2
  • amend the deadlines relating to appeals for the time that the new regulations are in force

My 2020 Survey looks at the pattern of appeals last year across the three types, with each Individual School Information section explaining the procedure they adopted. I am up to date with most Kent schools, with Medway to follow, but am happy to revise these individually on request.  The survey also gives links back to a number of articles exploring the experience of such appeals. 

Last modified on Saturday, 05 February 2022 16:20


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